Tennessee Hits Record-High $375 Million Sports Betting Handle in October 2021

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We’ve seen several states report new records for sports betting volume in October 2021, and Tennessee is the latest state to join the list. In October, Tennessee’s sports betting handle reached a new record of $375.3 million, up almost 46% from $257.3 million in September which was the prior record. Awareness of legal sports betting is increasing across the country and the fall is the peak of sports in the calendar year with the NFL, NBA, NHL, and several college sports all underway.

Tennessee Sports Betting Revenue

In October, Tennessee reported $23.3 million in sports betting revenue. That was just shy of the record set in September 2021 of $25.6 million, but it was still the second-most profitable month for sportsbooks in Tennessee. However, adjusted gross income increased slightly to $17.2 million, translating to $3.4 million in tax revenue. Tennessee’s sports betting market is expected to continue to grow in the coming months with new operators still being added to the state. Tennessee’s entire sports betting market is online with no retail sportsbooks.

Tennessee reached $2 billion in lifetime sports betting handle in October, becoming the fifth-fastest state in the country to do so. Sports betting launched in Tennessee on November 1, 2020, and it has grown 185.5% year-over-year from $131.4 million in handle to $375.3 million in October 2021. Alec Cunningham, an analyst for PlayTenn.com, described how “five full weekends of the NFL and college football, baseball’s postseason, and the start of the NBA season” led to betting inventory being “off the charts.”

Tennessee’s Mandatory 10% Hold

One of the unique features of Tennessee’s sports betting market is its unprecedented mandatory 10% hold for sportsbook operators. The Tennessee Education Lottery set forth this rule when the market launched last year. However, it’s been difficult for sportsbooks to operate in this threshold as the general average for hold in most legalized markets is about 7%, with some markets like Nevada even lower at about 5%.

The Sports Wagering Advisory Council has met recently to deliberate on how to address this moving forward. As of now, sportsbooks face $25,000 in fines if they fail to meet the 10% hold requirement, but that’s a fairly inconsequential amount of money. Many legislators have discussed the potential of assessing operators’ hold on a quarterly basis and implementing the $25,000 fine per quarter, bringing the potential total fines to $100,000.

Wagr Approved For Launch

With one of the more unique approaches to sports betting, Wagr has been turning heads across the country with its attempt to fuse social media with betting. Wagr will allow friends to share and store their betting history and make it easy to transfer payments and track bets in real-time. The Tennessee Education Lottery approved Wagr for launch in the state on a 90-day conditional basis with strict rules. Each wager has a maximum bet of $500, each player has a maximum of $10,000 they can bet, and players can only wager on points spreads. Tennessee is the first state where Wagr has fully launched and it will serve as an intriguing test site for the platform.

I've been writing about sports for Lineups since the beginning of 2020 and on my own website since 2018. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. As the United States embarks on an exciting journey towards the legalization of sports betting, I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to cover industry news, NFL and NBA odds, and more.

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